Which forehead thermometers are best?

We used to live in a time when checking someone’s temperature was only done to make sure they weren’t running too hot. Now, we live in a world where running even a mild fever can be a sign of something far more treacherous. That’s why it’s imperative to use forehead thermometers that are high-quality and accurate.

One of the best forehead thermometers is the iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer. It’s reasonably priced and highly accurate, and it uses a contactless scanning method.

What to know before you buy a forehead thermometer

Contact vs. contactless

Contact and contactless forehead thermometers each have their pros and cons.

  • Contact: Contact thermometers are usually slightly more accurate than contactless models. They can also obtain readings at a typically faster pace, are easier to use on yourself and are sometimes more affordable.
  • Contactless: Contactless thermometers have two key benefits. The first and biggest, especially in these times, is that contactless models don’t need to be sanitized after each reading. They do still need to be sanitized, just with less regularity. They are also excellent for parents who need to monitor a sleeping child.

Batteries

Most forehead thermometers use replaceable batteries, typically AA or AAA. Some models drain these batteries faster than others, but there will still be a recurring cost. Some models do use rechargeable batteries, but these are harder to find and tend to cost more. Regardless of battery type, some forehead thermometers have battery-saving functions that can help, such as an “auto-off” feature.

What to look for in a quality forehead thermometer

Response time

Forehead thermometers obtain and display their readings at different speeds. The best ones can obtain and display a reading in as fast as one second. Most take up to three seconds, with some low-end models taking as long as five.

Display 

Forehead thermometer displays have several attributes to consider. The biggest is whether the display is backlit. Backlit displays are easier to read in all brightnesses and can make reading temperatures in dark rooms go from frustrating to a breeze. Some displays can show more detailed information, especially with models that have multiple scanning methods. Other displays have color codes that change depending on how concerning the reading is.

Extra functions

More complex forehead thermometers are able to do more than only read temperatures. Popular extra functions are the ability to input the patient’s age to receive a nuanced reading or the ability to store a short history of readings to track the patient’s progress.

How much you can expect to spend on a forehead thermometer

They come in three pricing tiers that match their quality. The ones that cost less than $20 are usually low-enough quality to not be worth buying, though there are some exceptions. Models costing more than $40 are typically best, topping out around $60.

Forehead thermometer FAQ

Are forehead thermometers more accurate than oral thermometers?

A. Yes and no. Forehead thermometers obtain their temperature readings by measuring the heat given off by the temporal artery. Oral thermometers obtain their readings by measuring the temperature of your body as a whole, via the mouth. Body temperature readings can be as much as one degree higher than a simultaneously measured forehead reading. Both readings are accurate, but body temperature readings are understood to be possibly, artificially higher than the actual body temperature.

What is the threshold for a body temperature to become unsafe?

A. Safe human body temperature can be a surprisingly complex topic. Factors such as the age or sex of a person can sway the “safe” temperature range into higher or lower ranges. For example, a young and healthy male might have regular “safe” readings as high as the low 99 degrees while an elderly female might have regular “safe” readings as low as the 97s. However, most sources agree with the Cleveland Clinic that readings higher than 100 should be monitored, higher than 102 should be treated at home and higher than 104 should seek medical attention.

What’s the best forehead thermometer to buy?

Top forehead thermometer 

iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer

iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer

What you need to know: This no-fuss thermometer gives a quick, accurate reading at an affordable price.

What you’ll love: Temperature readings are available as quickly as a single second and on an LED backlit display. The no-touch scanning means there’s no need to disinfect after each reading is taken. It maintains its accuracy even at larger than normal distances.

What you should consider: It is powered by two AAA batteries, which are chewed through faster than some consumers were happy with, leading to a high recurring cost.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top forehead thermometer for the money

Goodbaby Infrared Ear and Forehead Thermometer

Goodbaby Infrared Ear And Forehead Thermometer

What you need to know: This inexpensive thermometer is marketed for use with babies but can be used on persons of any age. 

What you’ll love: It can take temperature readings via two modes: forehead and inner ear. It can also read the temperatures of a room or your baby’s formula. 

What you should consider: This is not a touchless thermometer, so you’ll need to disinfect the scanning surface after each reading. Some devices were reported to arrive non-functioning.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

THERMOBIO Medical Grade Heavy Duty Touchless Infrared Forehead Thermometer

Thermobio Medical Grade Heavy Duty Touchless Infrared Forehead Thermometer

What you need to know: This heavy-duty medical-grade thermometer is top of the line, but it will cost you.

What you’ll love: It’s rated to remain accurate for more than 1,000 readings and has an option to toggle reading body or object temperatures. A color-coded display flashes red for high temperatures and green for acceptable temperatures.

What you should consider: Some consumers found the included instructions confusing. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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